We are being watched. I am not trying to freak you out. Yet, that is the truth. Websites we visit; files we download, things we buy are all being tracked by internet service providers, cookie stuffers, social media trackers, and of course by our government. Moreover, if there is a data retention law in your country, all of the online activities have to be stored for a certain period of time. If not us, our online privacy should freak!
As a privacy advocate, I do believe that anything we are doing online should be between our minds and devices. In order to make this happen, we need back up tools to enhance our online security: reliable no-log VPN services!
In this article, I will introduce you to the best no-log VPN providers to defeat data retention law, prevent online tracking, and stay out of ISP and government snooping.
A quick overview of the best no-log VPN providers in the market:
Jurisdiction: British Virgin Island; Proven no-log policy; Audit by PWC; RAMDisk servers, 256-bit encryption with 4 different protocols, Kill Switch, and private DNS. Average speed: 60+ Mbps, starting from 6.67$/month.
Jurisdiction: British Virgin Island; No activity log policy; Audit by Cure53; RAMDisk servers, 256-bit encryption with 2 different protocols, Kill Switch, and ads/tracker blocker features. Average speed: 70+ Mbps, starting from 2.49$/month.
Jurisdiction: Panama; No activity log; Audit by PWC and Big 4; RAMDisk servers, 256-bit encryption with 3 different protocols and, Kill Switch. Average speed: 70+ Mbps, starting from 3.71$/month.
4. Perfect Privacy
Jurisdiction: Switzerland with Proven no-log policy; 256-bit encryption with 2 different protocols, Kill Switch, private DNS as well as multiple server encryption, Stealth mode, NeuroRouting, and TrackStop features. Average speed 20 Mbps+, starting from 8.89$/month.
Jurisdiction: Switzerland; No activity log policy; Audit by Leviathan; Self-deployed servers, 256-bit encryption with 4 different protocols, Kill Switch, and private DNS. Average speed: 30+ Mbp, starting from 2.5$/month.
While these VPN services are capable of enhancing our online privacy, choosing a bad one may also end up in a disastrous experience. At this point, our primary concern is to leave no-log behind. Therefore, we will be focusing on quality VPN providers that do not keep or store any activity logs.
Yet! It is not easy to find a proper provider in the market. There are so many criteria to be met…
Criteria to check for the right no-log VPNs
If we are to work with a legit company, privacy should go beyond claims. That is why I created a checklist to pay great attention to. A reliable, log-free VPN must have the following features. Only that way a VPN provider can keep its promises.
Stay away from 5/9/14 eyes alliance
The topic may seem weird. Yet, around the world, there are several countries sharing intelligence. These countries are so strict about the information that almost nothing can escape from their sight. The alliance first started with UK and USA, then extended to 12 more countries.
5 eyes countries: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
9 eyes countries: 5 eyes+ Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Norway
14 eyes countries: 9 eyes+ Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Sweden
As these countries are obliged to share sensitive information with each other. Hence, we will be looking for VPN providers founded outside of 5/9/14 Eyes alliance countries.
Clear log policy
As I am totally aware of these misleading words, I walked through all the privacy terms of the services I have reviewed so far. And that is why we are left with only a few providers offering clean and easy to follow privacy terms.
3rd party audit
Not quite necessary. However, it is a good feeling to know that an independent company audits all servers and software of the VPN services.
Stable servers and quality software
It is out of the question true no-log policy has to be supported by both stable servers and functioning apps. A company may meet all of the requirements above. However, if the servers are not stable and the apps are not functioning properly, our VPN experience may turn into a tragedy.
Therefore, stable servers/apps, as well as decent speed, is a must.
Let’s get started!
5 Best no-log VPN providers
ExpressVPN is based on British Virgin Island where there is no mandatory data retention law. Away from 5/9/14 eyes, BVI offers an amazing spot for better privacy. ExpressVPN explains this:
- The BVI, while sharing the same monarch as Great Britain, is a self-governing group of islands located in the Caribbean. The BVI has its own legislature elected by BVI citizens, an independent judiciary, and a national police force. The code of laws which BVI companies are required to abide by was enacted in the BVI, not the UK.
- We do not collect logs of your activity, including no logging of browsing history, traffic destination, data content, or DNS queries. We also never store connection logs, meaning no logs of your IP address, your outgoing VPN IP address, connection timestamp, or session duration.
Besides plain words, 3rd party PWC also ran an audit of the service and approved how actually ExpressVPN kept its promises with its TrustedServers.
Enough? Not yet!
19 December 2016, Turkey experienced the Assassination of Andrei Karlov. Turkish police officers found out the IP address of the assassinator belonged to ExpressVPN servers.
According to Hurriyet Daily News:
- The IP address that was used during the deletion had been leased from Express VPN, which does not store activity or connection logs. The prosecution’s contact with the company did not yield results as Express VPN stated that it is not subject to the rules of U.S. and EU laws.
Related to the topic, ExpressVPN adds up:
- As we stated to Turkish authorities in January 2017, ExpressVPN does not and has never possessed any customer connection logs that would enable us to know which customer was using the specific IPs cited by the investigators. Furthermore, we were unable to see which customers accessed Gmail or Facebook during the time in question, as we do not keep activity logs.
Now that we are happy with ExpressVPN’s proven no-log policy, it is time to go into technical details about the service.
With the states given above, how does ExpressVPN manage its no-log policy on the server and software side?
ExpressVPN runs its infrastructure on RAMDisk only servers. This makes the logging impossible on the servers. Additionally, this technology is being backup by the following features:
- Protocols and encryption: ExpressVPN has 4 different protocols: Lightway, OpenVPN, IKev2, and L2TP with 256-bit encryption.
- Private DNS: By using ExpressVPN’s private DNS, you can prevent potential IP/DNS leaks.
- Kill Switch: You can shut down all internet traffic if you are disconnected from the VPN server.
According to our long term experience, bundled with the features above, ExpressVPN offers a stable and high-speed connection up to 60+ Mbps.
With a single account, you can secure up to 5 devices simultaneously. Under the 30-days moneyback guarantee, you can start using ExpressVPN from 6.67$/month.
A newcomer to our list. SurfShark is another British Virgin Island-based VPN provider offering not only the best price/performance service in the market but also keeps no activity logs of the users.
A VPN that doesn’t keep logs will not collect details like:
- “IP address
- Browsing history
- Used bandwidth
- Session information
- Network traffic
- Connection timestamps
In short, a no-log VPN like Surfshark does not keep track of your online whereabouts or actions in any way.”
These sentences may appeal to a classic bunch of non-sense words to us. However, SurfShark adds up on actually how they manage the no-log policy:
- AES-256-GCM encryption,
- OpenVPN and IKev2 protocols,
- A dedicated solution to IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks,
- And the Camouflage mode to add obfuscation to the VPN servers so that our VPN connection looks normal to the ISP.
In 2020, SurfShark also turned all its HDD disk infrastructure to RAMDisk servers. The company simply tries to keep up with the latest privacy and security trends. And, what else?
First of all, according to our recent VPN review, SurfShark actually keeps its promises by providing all of the features above. Moreover, a decent VPN connection speed up to 70+ Mbps is a big bonus.
Secondly, SurfShark got its service audited, the German Audition service Cure53 found coding problems in the VPN browser extension. Yet, no worries, SurfShark fixed them all.
Lastly, SurfShark is one of the best yet, cheapest VPN providers in the market. Under 30 days moneyback guarantee, you can start using SurfShark from 2.49$/month and secure unlimited devices simultaneously.
NordVPN is another no-log VPN provider based in Panama. In the last years, the company grew up exaggeratedly both with its competitive price and dedicated apps compatible with almost all VPN required platforms. Yet, most importantly, its strict no-log policy was able to lure so many customers to trusted “No data retention law of the Panama”
- NordVPN guarantees a strict no-logs policy for NordVPN services, meaning that your activities using NordVPN Services are provided by automated technical process, are not monitored, recorded, logged, stored, or passed to any third party. We do not store connection time stamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic logs, IP addresses, or other data…
- …suitably designed and implemented with its server configuration along with central infrastructure…
Yet, how can NordVPN make no-logging possible?
The answer lays under their server structure and amazing software. Let’s take a look at what NordVPN offers in terms of privacy and security.
- RAMDisk only servers to make it impossible to log any activity on the server.
- OpenVPN, IKev2, and NordLynx (WireGuard) protocols with 256-bit encryption.
- Kill Switch and IP/DNS leak protection to prevent potential leaks.
Our recent review also approves NordVPN’s stability and speed performance of 70+Mbps as well. Yet, just keep that in mind, NordVPN’s tracker and ads blocking technology is not working properly.
Starting from 3.71$/month, you can make use of all these features and the utmost privacy on your 6 devices simultaneously. If you do not like the service, you can ask for a refund in 30 days.
I would like to welcome Perfect Privacy to our no-log VPN list. Switzerland provider Perfect Privacy not only offers a strict no-log policy but also provides unmatched, unique VPN features to enhance it.
Like other providers in the list, Perfect Privacy is also away from 5/9/14 eyes jurisdiction and your data is secured under Switzerland law. Furthermore, the company depicts:
- Perfect Privacy generally does not retain any logs. That is more than just a characteristic of our infrastructure. It is the fundamental philosophy of our service. Since our establishment in 2008 customers can rely on the fact that we do not save any logs whatsoever – the privacy of our users is our most valuable asset.
Perfect Privacy backs up its no-log policy with the way its infrastructure works:
- All our services are running within strongly encrypted RAM disks so that it is technically impossible for data to be stored on hard drives. That also means that no data can be recovered if the power is disconnected.
I am not convinced yet. Are you? I think we need more proof than words.
Perfect Privacy experienced a server seizure issue in Rotterdam. Dutch authorities seized two servers from the I3D datacenter without giving further details…
Related to the topic, Perfect Privacy adds up:
- Since we are not logging any data there is currently no reason to believe that any user data was compromised.
So, how Perfect Privacy was so certain that no user data was compromised?
Let’s talk about some technical information to answer it.
Perfect Privacy is unique in some ways. While its no-log infrastructure helps us have greater privacy, its software is bundled with fascinating features you cannot find somewhere else. These are:
- Cascading of multiple VPN servers: You can line up VPN servers according to your liking. Internet traffic will get encrypted within the chosen VPN servers and leave from the latest one.
- TrackStop: It is a great way to block phishing and tracking technologies.
- Stealth technology: If you are living in a country where ISPs block VPN traffic, you can make use of this technology. This feature will make your VPN traffic look normal and bypass ISP censors.
- NeuroRouting: In order to get the best out of Perfect Privacy servers, “NeuroRouting” technology will route your traffic throughout the best servers.
Stable servers mingled with these dedicated features bring about a true, reliable VPN provider. However, there are two drawbacks I do not like about Perfect Privacy.
First of all, the VPN software is neither user-friendly nor modern. Definitely, the company has to revamp its apps and create something minimal.
Secondly, Perfect Privacy only offers 14 days money-back guarantee and its cheapest plan starts from 8.95$/month. Considering the unlimited simultaneous connections, the plans are still pricey.
VyprVPN is another no-log VPN provider located in Switzerland. Earlier, VyprVPN was keeping some logs. Yet, they decided to be a no-log provider and got their service audited by leviathan.
- We do not log a user’s source IP address (typically assigned to the user by their ISP).
- We do not log the IP address assigned to the user when using VyprVPN.
- We do not log connection start or stop time.
- We do not log a user’s traffic or the content of any communications.
Besides being a no-log VPN provider, VyprVPN also offers dedicated VPN apps with plenty of features.
First of all, VyprVPN builds and deploys its own dedicated servers for greater speed and privacy. Self-configured servers will make sure that we get the best results from our VPN experience.
Secondly, the Chameleon protocol will help us bypass censorship in restricted countries like China, Russia, and Turkey… This will also grant us stronger encryption.
Third, VyprVPN DNS will make sure that our DNS servers are not leaking both through apps or browsers.
You can have all of these features starting from 2.5$/month. Simultaneous connection up to 5 devices and 30 days money-back guarantee are also included!
Unfortunately, VyprVPN does not offer any feature to block tracking scripts and phishing websites.
What you cannot do with a no-log VPN!
Do not get so excited about no-log VPNs. When people rely on no-log policies, they think they are invisible online, or no matter what they do, their online activities are %100 away from sight. Yet, it is not true.
By using a VPN service, it might seem it is okay not to comply with your local law. On the contrary, you have to comply with the terms of service of the provider.
These terms usually cover the following topics…
You cannot use VPN services to:
- send spam emails or post hateful, insulting, or threatening content
- upload/download/produce copyrighted materials as well as sexual or explicit depictions of minors
- engage in hacking other devices
- do any unlawful activities…
After reading all terms of the services I introduced, – no matter if the VPN keeps logs or not, I can tell “do not take a risk by conducting an illegal activity!”
A VPN service is not meant to legitimize your illegal moves!
Summing up the no-log VPN providers
Working with a no-log VPN is crucial when it comes to online privacy. However, it is hard to find a reliable one. Services such as Hidemyass and PureVPN got caught sharing user information leading to the arrest of a hacker group and a cyberstalker. All due to false privacy claims…
Bearing this problem in mind, I have lined up the criteria to be met such as being away from 5/9/14 eyes jurisdiction, clear log policy, 3rd party audition, stable servers with not leaking apps, and proof if any…
Fortunately, ExpressVPN, SurfShark, NordVPN, Perfect Privacy, and VyprVPN are capable of meeting almost all criteria above. Do not strain yourself if your activities will be revealed at any point. Pick one of the services, install the apps, and enjoy your ultimate privacy.
Do not forget! VPN services are not built to make us %100 anonymous online. Do not engage in any illegal activities!
You cannot imagine how it feels living in a country where censorship peaks to the top level. That is why I decided to start VPNxD to fight for true online freedom not for my homeland but for all world. On VPNxD, I am responsible both for reviews and “how-to-do” articles.